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I'm planning to make my own indie game company as both developer and publisher. As a publisher, I have some question about branding and reputation.

1. Quality:
A publisher have 2 games, they both have good average rating and they want to publish another game, which have less resources and effort. Publisher predicted it won't have as good rating as its previous games, but decided to publish it anyway because it needs money. Is this a bad call? Will having 2 good games and 1 bad games affect reputation? How?

2. Genre:
Is genre matters in reputation? For example, a publisher specialized in publishing RPG games, then suddenly, they publish FPS games. Assuming those games all have good ratings in average, will it affect publisher reputation? How?

3. Age-resctricted content:
Do you need different publisher name to publish adult games? The game is closer to "porn game" rather than "having adult content"; different from what we've seen in ESRB rated "M" games such as The Witcher 3. If a publisher mix their "normal" and "porn" games under the same name, will it affect its reputation? How?

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closed as too broad by congusbongus, Vaillancourt, MAnd, Jesse Dorsey Feb 26 '16 at 19:38

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It all depends on your actual case \$\endgroup\$ – Kromster says support Monica Feb 19 '16 at 7:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems opinion based. Different people may have different experiences. If you are concerned with your reputation being at stake, then you should listen to your own gut feeling. \$\endgroup\$ – Felsir Feb 19 '16 at 8:16
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Specilization on a certain genre of games is usually because the staff is specialized on certain genres and rarely for brand identity. "We know how to create games of a certain genre, so we keep doing it". But when you think your team is capable of developing a game in a different genre, don't let your brand identity get in the way. Take Blizzard Entertainment, for example, who jumped from puzzle-platformer to racing to action-platformer to real-time strategy to action-rpg to mmorpg to virtual collectible card game to first person shooter.

Having a good reputation will greatly increase the sales of your next game. You can expect that your name alone will cause some people to buy your next project when they wouldn't have bought it otherwise due to bad ratings.

However, you can expect that after publishing a clunker, your reputation might suffer from then on, and your games after that might sell worse.

Another factor to consider when you release an AO (adults-only rated) title under the same company label as your previous games, you might get trouble to advertise both that game and your non-AO titles together on your company website. It might get your whole company website labeled as porn and get blocked by censorship programs, even those sub-pages which don't mention your pornographic games at all.

Also many payment, advertisement and digital distribution providers refuse to work with pornographers. This might make it more difficult for you when your business model depends on them. (Edit: As of September 2018, Steam is now allowing pornographic games. Edit2: Although, as of November 2018, they keep delisting some games, apparently if the characters look too young for their comfort. I would recommend anyone who considers to release a pornographic game for Steam to wait a while until Valve made clear where they draw the lines).

And then certain game journalism outlets have become increasingly conscious of sexism lately and might boycot reporting about your non-porn games when your company is also known for producing pornographic titles.

For example, the reason Koei Tecmo stated why they won't release Dead of Alive Xtreme 3 outside of Asia is because that they are afraid of media backlash affecting their brand negatively (and that game isn't even pornographic - just full of bikini babes). Another publisher, HuniePot, responded to this with an offer: "sell the distribution rights to us. We don't care when people call us pervs".

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a great answer. However, just for the sake of nit-picking, I think there is a bit of a fallacy in the beginning: "Specilization on a certain genre of games is usually because the staff is specialized on certain genres and rarely for brand identity. Take Blizzard Entertainment, for example". Blizzard's example does not illustrate what the first sentence claims. The example is just an example of a company that does not specialize in a genre - it does not say anything about why some companies do specialize in genres, i.e. whether it's about the staff's skills or about identity. \$\endgroup\$ – MAnd Feb 19 '16 at 17:34
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I'm glad you wan to get into the industry as a Publisher. To be honest I don't know why more indie developers haven't turned into publishers. It seemed to work for Digital Revolver. Anyways, a company messing up on one game does hurt it's name and sales. But as long as you haven't become "Digital Homicide Studio" by releasing a bunch of crap games without any sense of mind, then you should be okay. Just remember that people aren't going to want you to publish there game if you haven't made a name for your self or made good games. Also, Genre is a publisher is key. Having different genres isn't something you have to worry about. Just make games that you would buy. Anyways I hope this helped. Sorry for my Bad English

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